SoundVision

The best home alarms have fingerprints

LEGALLY speaking, not just any company can nor should any company – install security, camera systems or even Nest doorbells.

Installation of security cameras seems relatively innocent? The best home alarms have fingerprints. For starters, you are inviting a stranger inside your home for a security survey. Of course we don’t run background checks and fingerprints on every contractor who enters our home but we aren’t asking them to assess risk at that point either. In addition homeowners are allowing someone access to view their homes, often interior and exterior with camera and security permissions. If not properly set, allowing a potential hacker access as well. Fire alarm and security monitoring are more serious. In the event of an emergency, not having expert installation could be catastrophic.

Licensing and why you should care

Fire and safety are categories of service that lend themselves to heavy liability and licensing requirements. These are LIFE SAFETY categories of service.  For example, if a small AV firm wanted to begin selling security systems and they were exercising a low voltage exemption by the state, they would not only need to be licensed by the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board but ALSO retain an actual Low Voltage license classification SP-AF-LV. Even an electrician currently licensed by the state to do electrical work is not automatically licensed to security oriented work.

Neither of which are relatively easy to obtain in a short amount of time. Requirements include relevant work experience certification, additional education, exams, verifiable references with notarized affidavits, background checks and meeting with an investigator all subject approval of the actual NC Alarm Systems Licensing Board during a hearing in Raleigh.

Read specifications for obtaining licensing here

In order to renew Michelle’s license, who works exclusively in the office and does not set one foot inside a client’s home, this was what was required:

  1. Completion of a 3 hour state approved CEU course (which included an exam)
  2. New fingerprints (every 2 years) at the Moorseville Police Department, which were more challenging to obtain than usual due to Covid19 restrictions this year. Not all police departments are doing fingerprints and for Mooresville Police, there was a significant delay in the scheduling.
  3. Finally, a background check.

This process occurs upon hire and then every 2 years afterwards for all employees. For this reason, we have to be very selective of potential staff members.

It is frustrating for us to see unlicensed contractors doing this work. In the event of catastrophe, homeowners (and their insurance companies) will wish they had hired a properly licensed and insured professional.  Be careful of who you let into your home. Click here to check if your contractor is licensed for security with the state.

Keeping Your Home Safe This Holiday

The old tune might say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but the reality is a lot of folks have to travel. While leaving your home behind can be stressful, there are numerous ways to incorporate smart technology into your home to keep it and your belongings safe while you’re away.

 

Amp up your security system

The best defense against intruders is a security system. Whether you’ve already integrated the basics, like an alarm, or you’re just starting from scratch, let our experienced security and surveillance pros at SoundVision help you figure out the best security system to help defend your home. There are endless options to amp up your security – from digital doorbells and locks, to round-the-clock surveillance cameras. From basic essentials to a robust system with all the bells and whistles, we can help make sure your belongings stay safe!

 

Leave a light (or a few) on

We don’t mean permanently! Use lighting and shade control to your advantage by setting “scenes” based off the time of day to make it look like you’re home. By incorporating dynamic lighting and shade settings, your home will look a little more “lived-in” than if you had just set a simple timer for the living room lamp. What’s more, having the right settings for your lighting and shades can help you save on energy costs whether you’re at home or away!

 

Connectivity is the key

All of this smart tech isn’t being used to its potential if you’re not able to monitor your home from your mobile device. Make sure you have the best apps to keep you connected to your home no matter how far away! By having the right connectivity, you’ll be able to check if the doors are locked, your kitchen appliances are off, the thermostat is properly set, and even chat with anyone who rings the doorbell! Staying connected to your home will give you peace of mind while you’re away for the holidays.

 

Check with the pros

Consulting a professional integrator whenever you’re considering new safety or smart home tech is always a great way to make sure you’re getting the best tech to suit your needs! Whether you already have the basics or you’re starting from scratch, we can help you.

 

We are a Google / Nest Authorized Partner

Innovative Design, Revolutionary Results

Which is the right solution for you? At SoundVision, we believe in simplifying life through technology, but that technology solution is different for everyone. Just as no two homeowners are alike, no two technology systems are either and that’s why, as Lake Norman’s premiere technology systems integrator, we offer a variety of solutions from leading manufacturers so that we can custom tailor each solution to meet the needs of each home.

In designing a home automation system, we start with a thorough needs analysis that documents your wants, needs and must haves. We’ll review your life-safety and security needs, network infrastructure, and more to engineer a solution that suits the needs of you and your family. So, whether you need automated door locks and a camera system, or a fully integrated home automation system to control your motorized shades, indoor and outdoor lighting, audio and video, we’ve got you covered.

Staying ahead of the curve

To be the best in design, installation and service for our customers and to meet the rigorous demands of the manufacturers’ lines that we are privileged to represent, our engineers, programmers and installation technicians undergo continuous education and hands-on training. We participate in industry and manufacturer-led sessions and continually seek new and innovative solutions to bring to our overall product offering.

We are proud to be one of the very first partners in the whole country with revolutionary lines such as Google Home and the Google Home Hub and the Nest line of products including the Nest thermostat, hello doorbell and camera system. Nest Protect is a life-safety pioneer. It not only detects smoke and carbon monoxide, but “speaks” when there’s a problem and can even text your phone.

And you may not think of a home technologies integrator when buying a door lock but think about that keyless touchpad being integrated into your home control. Yale keyless door locks are as beautiful as they are functional, safe and convenient. We can integrate them into your home’s system so that they operate with your home’s lighting and shades and be controlled from your home’s keypads and touchscreens or from a convenient mobile app.

Among the choices in voice control, Josh.ai adds a layer of artificial intelligence that makes accessing your systems seamless. Josh can control everything from your Yale door locks to your Sonos audio!

With so many amazing choices in smart home technologies, how do you know which is the best fit for you? It’s not just about the choosing the right stuff, it’s about making the right technologies work together. Give us a call and we’ll help navigate the myriad collection of high-tech gear, define the features and applications you’re looking for, and put together the perfect combination for you. “Josh, call SoundVision!”

 

 

 

How often should you replace your smoke detectors?

What you may not know about smoke alarms

We get this call all the time.  You begin to hear “beeping” from  the smoke detectors in your home.  Inevitably, you believe it is your security system that is setting off this event.  We wanted to both clear this up, and provide you with some guidelines on when to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Below, on the left, is a picture of a smoke detector supplied by your electrical contractor.  This type of detector requires a 9 volt, back up battery that must be replaced.  It is this battery, when it begins to get low in power, to cause the smoke detector to beep to let you know it is time to replace the batteries.  As an aside, most smoke detectors are tied together so that if there is a smoke event ALL detectors would sound as this is a life-safety event.  That means that all of the sounders might sound when a battery starts to go low.  Because of that, we always recommend to change EVERY smoke detector battery when you go to change one.  Bite the bullet, bye 15 9 volt batteries and spend an hour on a ladder changing them all out.  🙂

On the right is a smoke / heat detector that we install.  Because it’s back up battery resides at the alarm panel itself, there is NO back up battery at the physical detector.  As such, this type of detector NEVER makes sound.  Should it detect a smoke or heat event, the sound would come from the alarm siren.

Years ago you made a wise decision to install smoke detectors throughout your Lake Norman home or business, keeping your family and property safe in the event of a fire. As the seasons rolled past, you’ve changed the batteries as recommended, but did you know that those trusted detectors actually have a shelf life?

It’s not just the batteries that need to be replaced

Smoke detectors have an expiration date and many currently in use have exceeded their full functionality as dust builds up over time, desensitizing the sensors.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.  The date of manufacture can be found on the back or side of the smoke alarm. Wired or wireless, all alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date and not the date of purchase or installation. Making sure they are in good working order is critical because, according to Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA, “Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire in half.”

Interconnected smoke alarms offer an added measure of safety. Instead of just one sounding when smoke is detected, all units will be triggered, signaling every section of the home. When replacing an alarm within a connected system, experts recommend replacing all units within the system, even if some are still working. In addition, any alarm that continues to chirp after its batteries are swapped needs to be replaced, regardless of age.

Resolve to put safety first in the New Year! 

If you’ve got any questions about home life-safety and security or are interested in updating your current system or integrating a new system into your home automation system, please give us a call. We wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe 2018!

For more safety tips for your smart home, visit: https://www.control4.com/blog/2016/12/5-easy-updates-for-a-safer-and-smarter-home-in-2017

Put Your Smart Home to Work

Tips to keep Your Home Safe for the Holidays

Throughout the year we strive to keep you apprised of the latest in technologies and trends. 2017 has witnessed the adoption of integrated voice control, amazing advances in LEDs, incredible strides in virtual reality and much, much more! Our smart homes are getting smarter, but how can we use their features to make our homes safer? Well, here are some simple ways to put your home automation system to work, ensuring you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

1) Light it Up! A well-lit home is your first defense against would-be burglars. Every deterrent counts when your home’s vulnerability is assessed. Use landscape lighting, flood lights and motion-activated lighting around your entire home.

2) Fake them out! Inside & outdoors, create lighting scenes that realistically mimic your patterns while you’re away. Control4 calls this Mockupancy™. Lights, shades, televisions and even the Christmas tree are set up on alternating sequences to simulate that lived-in look.

3) Gate it off! Be cyber safe by updating your home network. We’re savvy to the latest potential threats and can help protect your home’s critical infrastructure.

4) Lock it down! If you’ve got a home security system, use it. If you don’t have one, call us. If you’ve got one and haven’t used it for a while, call us to schedule to check. Aside from deterring potential thieves, a monitored security system alerts first responders to fire and medical emergencies. And this is a great time to check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

5) Lock it Up! Automated door locks (smartlocks integrated into your home’s system) with integrated alarms and anti-pick shields add an extra layer of security and convenience.

6) Keep an eye on it! Enhance your security system with cameras and motion sensors. Their presence alone is a great deterrent.  You’ll be able to keep an eye on things while away and access recordings should any misdeeds occur.

7) Download the App! Embrace the technology and use the various features available. They offer incredible convenience and peace of mind.

8) Pull the plug! Eliminate the possibility of having your garage door breached. Disconnect it when you’re planning to be away.

9) Resist the urge! We’re our own worst enemies. Don’t flaunt those exquisitely wrapped gifts in the windows for all to see, hold off on that social post from your holiday locale until you’re back home and break down the boxes that your new electronic toys came in to avoid curbside advertising of what’s new on the inside.

Be smart and stay safe and healthy this holiday season. If you have any questions about home automation and its role in your safety and security, please contact us. We’re here to help. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Additional Resources:

Protecting Your Home from Burglars during the Holidays

Outsmarting Cyber Crimes against Smart Technologies

Smart Home Basics: Locks 101

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